I never thought I’d find myself at an all-inclusive resort. The concept had just never appealed to me, but then I was invited to stay at three different resorts (one being upscale and not all-inclusive) during a week-long golf press trip to the Dominican Republic.
I’ve only recently taken up golf, thanks to my slightly golf-obsessed boyfriend, and you can read about that part of the trip here. As for the resorts, I’ve summed up my highlights from each one for you. Since the Dominican sees a rather high number of Quebec travellers pass through their (rather cute) tropical airport each year, it might help you when planning your trip to the D. R.
Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe
For couples with kids
The most expansive resort of the three we stayed at, Barceló has different levels of accommodations varying in amenities, location and pricing. We stayed in one of the higher-end suites, where there were more couples than families. The room was spacious and modern and boasted a terrace-balcony with jacuzzi.
What we loved: the adult-only pool nearby where we rented a cabana bed for the day (a $15 fee), alternating between pool – pina coladas – beach, trying our hand at wind-surfing and sailing a two-person catamaran. I even participated in a beach Latino dance lesson. We also enjoyed the on-site disco, but steered clear of the casino.
Highlights for the kids: plenty of activities, live entertainment, child-friendly themed buffets.
For the adults: disco, live entertainment, catamaran, windsurfing, kayaking are all included.
Melia Caribe Tropical – The Level
For couples who want a higher standard in an all-inclusive
The Level is like a boutique hotel within the resort. Upon check-in, you receive a unique bracelet (hand-crafted from the finest coconut) which denotes that you have paid for The Level experience. The lobby has an area where you can hang out, read books, serve yourself coffee and snacks 24/7.
We dined at the adults-only restaurant, Cuatro for breakfast and Gabi for lunch. At all three resorts, I preferred to load up on fresh, local fruit for breakfast and order à la carte for lunch to avoid the buffet food. We went for a dip in the Level-only pool and I enjoyed the jacuzzi tub in our large room.
Highlights: Adults-only restaurant, pool and beach
*Note: Melia does have a largely kid-friendly section to the resort (including a Flintstones-themed zone) but personally, I preferred the exclusivity and tranquility of The Level.
Casa de Campo
For couples who seek luxury, but don’t want to stay in an all-inclusive.
This was my favourite of the three places we stayed at, but it is also the most costly. The service is top-notch. From check-in to check-out, we were always impressed by the professionalism of the employees. Our room felt more like a cottage or a town house than a hotel room and we had our own speedy golf cart to get to it (the concierge referred to it as our “little red Ferrari”).
Our place was nestled amongst palm trees with balcony-views on the driving range of the world-famous “Teeth of the Dog” golf course. The bathroom was well-designed for a couple, we made good use of the walk-in closet and most importantly – the Nespresso machine (I love my Nespresso)! Room service was great and we loved the caiparinha’s served pool-side or even in the pool (one of the pools had a swim-up bar). You really feel fancy and over-the-top when you can drink while you swim.
What we loved best – the entire Casa de Campo experience – exploring the marina and Altos de Chavon, the 16th century replica of a Mediterranean village. There are also many fancy activities (all at extra fees) that we didn’t have time to try, like polo (yes, on a horse), skeet shooting and more. The best meal we had was at The Beach Club by Le Cirque.
Depending on your own preferences and budget, each of these resorts are great options and offer wonderful hospitality. What I liked best about the Dominican, is the Dominicans. I would love to go back and explore more the life, food and culture outside the resorts. If you have any tips – be sure to leave them in the comments below!
Interested in golfing the Dominican? Check out my blog post: Golfing in the Dominican Republic.
Carrie was invited by Dominican Republic tourism.